· A5 DTM tests in France
· Timo Scheider at employees’ day of Audi partner Schaeffler
· Audi privateer team competes at Spa for charity
Ingolstadt- Audi used the summer break in the DTM for the further development of the Audi A5 DTM.
Testing in France: Before the next DTM race at the Nürburgring on August 19, Audi scheduled a test in France. The A5 DTM was tested for three days at Magny-Cours. Between Tuesday and Thursday, all eight Audi factory drivers from the DTM took part in the tests.
Grand appearance in Schweinfurt: At the employees’ and family day, Audi partner Schaeffler welcomed more than 20,000 visitors. Audi factory driver Timo Scheider and rally racer Armin Schwarz signed autographs for the employees and their families on Sunday and gave interviews. A Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM, the car that was the DTM title winner last year, and an Audi Coupé quattro that won the German Rally Championship 25 years ago were among the most popular photo subjects at the Schweinfurt location.
Visit in Belgium: Racers from various series watched Audi’s showing at the 24-hour race at Spa. Markus Winkelhock and Marc Basseng, for instance, came to visit Christopher Haase, Frank Stippler and the rest of the team. The quartet had won the Nürburgring 24 Hours for Audi in May. Chris Mamerow, who together with René Rast celebrated the first victory of an Audi team in the ADAC GT Masters this season, would not miss the run either. The two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz took a look at the Audi garages as well. Another guest: Adderly Fong from Hong Kong, the current leader of the standings in the Audi R8 LMS Cup in China.
For a good cause: Team United Autosports is combining the Spa 24 Hours with a fund drive that was advertised on the Audi R8 LMS ultra. The Anglo-American Audi privateer team supports the Halow Project (www.halowproject.org.uk). The initiative assists people with learning disabilities. For this purpose, the race team of Richard Dean and Zak Brown makes available various team items for auctions.
Eye-catcher: In the paddock of the Spa 24 Hours, visitors had the opportunity to marvel at an Audi R18 e-tron quattro. Another show vehicle of the LMP race car that won the Le Mans 24 Hours has been on display at the London Design Museum as part of the “Designed to win” exhibition since last Wednesday and will continue to be showcased there until November 18.
Spontaneity counts: No one is safe from Audi privateer driver Mark Patterson. Whenever a face with striking features attracts the attention of the racer from United Autosports he will spontaneously draw it – at lunch, during an autograph session or in the pits. This way, several fans were treated to free personal portraits of themselves at the Spa 24 Hours. Some of the portrait drawings of the American with South African roots – Alain Prost, Bernie Ecclestone and Steve Jobs included – can be seen on the internet as well: www.markpatterson.me
A word from … Frank Stippler
You’ve driven many 24-hour races. Now you’ve won two rounds in just one year – the 24 Hours at the Nürburgring and at Spa with the Audi R8 LMS ultra. What was specific about each race?
The biggest difference to the victory in May was that there are so many vehicle categories on the grid for the Nordschleife, which means that there are big differences in speed in the field. That’s the greatest challenge. At Spa, it was exactly the other way around. With almost 70 entrants, the field arguably set a record because never before have so many vehicles contested such a high-caliber race in a single class. This made the battles extremely fierce, even when lapping. That was the thrill of this race. Naturally, a bit of fortune was involved as well.
Fierce battles make a victory particularly valuable. How did you experience these duels?
It already began with our starting from 29th place. We had to take a lot of risks to pass our rivals. Our car has an extremely large number of advantages but in terms of top speed there are unfortunately a couple of cars in the field that are even faster. That’s why in the braking zones we’re actually too far away for an attack. If you risk it anyway this always involves body contact.
And you had such contacts more than once, didn’t you?
My wheels alone were hit two or three times. After these incidents, I thought a lot about my rims, tires and wheel bearings. But the best thing was that these thoughts were obviously unfounded, because the Audi R8 LMS ultra was absolutely stable. I’m happy that with Audi, Audi Sport Team Phoenix and my two fantastic team-mates I was finally able to celebrate this success. All the findings we’re gathering with this vehicle will directly benefit the many customers who trust this customer sports car worldwide.
Coming up next week
Aug 04 round 07, Endurance Championship, Nürburgring (D)
Aug 04 round 05, British GT Championship, Snetterton (GB)
Aug 05 round 04, Italian GT Championship, Red Bull Ring (A)